Cats are notoriously complex creatures, which is why their owners are often wanting to determine more about how they behave and, crucially, the way to earn their affections.

Of course it’s easier said than done but new research from Nottingham Trent University has found that the key to getting your cat’s heart could be the other of what you’ve always thought.

In fact, the study found that the key is to easily let your cat choose when it wants to be stroked instead of you deciding you would like to try to to it.

It found that when this recommendation was followed, cats were less likely to behave aggressively towards their owners and and were also more affectionate with them.

The team used the acronym CAT to explain their advice: provide the cat with choice and control, concentrate to the cat’s behavior and visual communication , and believe whereabouts they’re touching the cat.

The research was conducted by researchers monitoring participants’ interactions with 100 cats housed at Battersea’s London cattery.

Each participant engaged with with six cats in total, engaging with three before they received the CAT guidelines and three after.

One strategy identified for understanding whether your cat was willing to be stroked was to supply it your hand and see whether or not it interacts with it, which, if they are doing want to be stroked, might manifest within the cat rubbing themselves against the hand.

If the cat chooses to maneuver away, stops purring, starts grooming itself, or turns away, which may mean that the cat has had enough of your stroking and needs you to prevent .

The study also checked out where cats like better to be stroked, noting that the majority cats prefer being touched at the bottom of their ears, around their cheeks, and under their chin.

Dr Lauren Finka, who led the study, said: “The results demonstrate a transparent preference amongst cats for a more ‘hands off’ approach to petting, which ultimately lets them call most of the shots.

“Cats aren’t necessarily known for being overly expressive when it involves communicating how they’re feeling.

“This can often cause issues during petting because many cats may feel a touch uncomfortable sometimes , but this isn’t something that’s always easy for us to select abreast of .”

Battersea’s feline welfare manager JoAnna Puzzo, added: “While every cat features a wonderfully unique personality, they are doing often share fundamental similarities, as this new study shows.